I have to be honest. I’m having a hard time coming up with an introduction for this blog. I want to answer a question I was recently asked, “How can PR be used for inbound marketing?” It isn’t a bad question at all, but the only way I can think to begin is to say, PR is inbound marketing. In fact PR was inbound marketing before inbound marketing was cool. You might say that when it comes to inbound, PR is the OG.
Inbound vs. Interruption
When marketers talk about “inbound” what they are referring to is the practice of offering useful content to potential buyers who are looking for information about a particular subject or problem. This is opposed to the tactic of trying to get buyers’ attention by interrupting some other activity. Television commercials are a great example of interruption marketing. So are pop-up ads and telemarketing calls.
It is not a coincidence that the rise of inbound marketing and digital marketing go hand in hand. The internet is the perfect tool for people looking for particular product categories or for those who want to figure out how to solve a problem or fill a need. All you have to do is type a search phrase and presto, mountains of information are available at your fingertips. Inbound marketers do everything they can to put their content front and center and entice you to engage with them online. Before the internet, there were few opportunities for inbound marketing other than the Yellow Pages. Except …
PR – Message Distribution without Interruption
PR has always been a way to influence the public without paid advertising. The goal is to earn the attention of the press and public with stories that the audience will find useful or entertaining. Brand messages are interwoven with other information and presented by trusted third parties. This is not at all unlike the inbound marketing practice of content distribution and curation. You can argue that the distinction between PR and inbound marketing is the difference between earned and owned media, but the goal is exactly the same – draw the audience to your brand without interrupting something else they are trying to do.
Optimizing PR for Inbound
There are a few things you can do to make sure that your PR efforts lead to results that impact your inbound marketing objectives.
- Use effective SEO tactics in press releases and other content you control, such as guest blog posts.
- Get the most out of every piece of content. Content that your marketing team develops for inbound can be leveraged for press pitches and influencer outreach. Likewise, earned media mentions can be repurposed as infographics, blog posts, ebooks or other inbound assets.
- Measure the impact of PR on website metrics, lead conversions, and sales. This is essential to uncovering the best PR strategy for your brand, and for justifying the investment in PR.
Whether you own the content or earn it, the goal is to make sure that potential buyers find and consider your brand. Inbound tactics, including PR, have proven to be far more effective than interruption ones in the digital universe. PR is, and has always been, a key part of any inbound strategy.